Schertling’s April 1 interrogation
[Note 1] Gisela Schertling was led forth from custody on April 1, . She stated:
It is certainly the truth when I state that I knew nothing about the production and distribution of other leaflets. Of course I suspected that something was not quite right. But I developed that suspicion when they were working so intensively in the apartment on the last leaflet. That was the week that Sophie Scholl was in Ulm.
It also appeared suspicious to me that Hans Scholl and Willi Graf left the apartment around midnight on February 8/9. When Hans Scholl returned around 1 am, he went to the bathroom and thoroughly washed himself. I immediately had second thoughts and at that time came to the conclusion that he was occupied with the graffiti at the university.
When I learned about the graffiti the next day at the university, it was clear to me that only Hans Scholl and Willi Graf could have done this. But I kept silent about my suspicions with Hans Scholl. I did not want to say anything to him about it, because he had made it clear that he would rather I know nothing about it. But they could not continue to hide it from me, because they made it too conspicuous.
But I had the impression that Hans Scholl did not wish to burden me with all those things. I also do not believe that he would have ever told me about the production and distribution of the leaflets and other illegal activities if I had not stumbled upon the leaflets myself.
Hans Scholl probably did not tell the other participants that I knew about their activities. I assume this because Hans Scholl later told me expressly that in case I should ever be interrogated by the police, I should not deter from my statements that I knew nothing about the matter and that I knew nothing about it at all. I should not say anything under any circumstance.
Therefore I could not be moved to tell the truth. I was firmly convinced that none of the other participants except for Hans Scholl could make any statements regarding what I knew about this matter. I assumed that Hans Scholl had said nothing during his interrogation, since I was not summoned again after his interrogation and sentencing.
I was drawn into this entire matter only because of my love [sexual] relationship with Hans Scholl and because I stayed at his apartment. Once I knew about it, and because Hans Scholl exerted such enormous influence on me, I had to go along whether I wanted to or not.
I also knew that it would be completely useless and futile to try to convince Hans Scholl not to distribute the leaflets. Therefore I did not try to argue my viewpoint.
That is also why I did not object when Sophie Scholl took the leaflets to be mailed. When I helped her put the leaflets in the mailbox, I thought it simply had to take its course. I thought there was nothing else I could do.
I must admit that I placed half the letters in the mailbox myself. We certainly did not discuss the content of the letters. But I was convinced that Sophie Scholl assumed that I knew about the content of the leaflets. It was equally clear to me that Sophie Scholl knew the leaflets.
I did not receive any assignment to distribute the leaflets in any other manner. Hans Scholl did indeed tell me that the leaflets would be mailed and distributed at the University [of Munich] in the following days, but he did not additionally ask me to help him.
I must also deny that I helped type the addresses or get the leaflets ready to mail in any other way. The letters and the addresses were already finished when I found out about the matter.
It is possible that Sophie Scholl later affixed stamps, because I recall that she told me she had to get busy affixing stamps. On the evening when I discovered the leaflets, I saw a large number of envelopes
contained lying on the table. As I saw for myself, some of these already contained leaflets. Some of them were lying [there] folded. But I did not stuff these in the envelopes nor did I do anything else to get them ready to mail. I only helped put away the leaflets and store them in the desk. These were taken away the following day by Hans Scholl and Schmorell. The two of them must have taken care of packing them. I do not know what they did with the leaflets they took away.
I also did not know in advance any of the details about how the operation in the university would go down. As best as I can recall, the leaflets were taken away on the last Saturday before the arrest.
I was with Hans Scholl all of Saturday and Sunday. I slept with Hans Scholl on Saturday night. We did not get up on Sunday morning until around 10 am. Afterwards, we took a walk in the English Gardens. Around noon we ate lunch at the Seehaus [Restaurant] on Kleinhesseloher See. After that, we went on an excursion to Grünwald. We then walked about 2 – 3 hours out of Grünwald. We returned to Munich on the train from the nearest train station to Isartalbahn. We arrived in Munich around 7:30 pm. We ate supper in a pub near the German Museum.
Around 9 pm, Sophie Scholl arrived at the main train station, where we picked her up together. We then drove [Note 2] to the apartment on Franz Josef Str. We talked till around 11 pm. That day and also that evening when Sophie Scholl was home again, we did not talk about the leaflet matter at all.
I know for a fact that on that day, Hans Scholl was not at all occupied with the distribution of leaflets or any other seditious operation.
Sunday night, I once again spent the night at the Scholl siblings’ apartment. However, I did not stay in Hans Scholl’s room, rather I slept on the couch in Sophie Scholl’s room.
Monday morning, we ate breakfast together. After that, Hans and Sophie Scholl left the apartment together. Sophie had told me beforehand that they were going to Eickemeyer’s studio where they had something to do. They did not tell me what they were doing.
They returned around noon to eat lunch, which I had prepared in the meantime. Immediately after lunch, Schmorell joined us. He stayed about an hour, and then he left with Hans Scholl. Sophie told me they were going back to Eickemeyer’s studio.
Sophie stayed behind because she told me she was expecting Otto Aicher. Aicher arrived around 3 pm. We all went for a walk through the English Gardens. I could tell from their conversation that Sophie Scholl and Aicher were very close friends [Note 3]. But I did not have the impression that Aicher knew about their illegal activity. During this walk and indeed the whole time Aicher was there, they certainly did not talk about the leaflet matter. When we crossed Ludwig Str. at Von-der-Tann Str., Sophie Scholl did indeed point out the graffiti that had been painted there. Sophie Scholl said that slogans like that had been painted on Ludwig Street and at the university. But she never clearly stated that she knew who had done it. Aicher took note of that and
declared asked if these people hadn’t already been arrested. Otherwise, nothing was said about it.
We then returned to Scholl’s apartment around 6 pm. Aicher came too. Aicher wanted to meet up with Hans Scholl there, but since he [Hans Scholl] stayed out later that night, he [Aicher] could not wait any longer, because he wanted to catch the 8 pm train to Professor Muth in Solln.
That evening, I left [Hans] Scholl’s apartment around
7 9 pm and went back to my apartment, Lindwurm Str. 13. I spent Monday night there.
On Tuesday, I once again met Sophie Scholl at the university. We then went back to Franz Josef Str. together. Afterwards, we ate lunch at an inn [Gaststätte] on Hohenzollern Str. Once we were back at the apartment, Hans Scholl called us. He said he wanted to look me up at my apartment on Lindwurm Str. because he had needed to get some money from me for a trip to Stuttgart. But since he no longer could catch that train, he would come back to the apartment on Franz Josef Str.
I did not give him money on this occasion or on any other. For the trip to Stuttgart, he got the money from the bank. But he could not have taken that trip to Stuttgart, because from that time until his arrest, he was always in my presence.
I do not know what he planned to do in Stuttgart. Sophie Scholl only told me that he wanted to meet some acquaintances there. It is possible that he wanted to dispose of some leaflets there, but I do not know for certain.
Hans Scholl showed up again that day around 1 pm. Sophie and I left the apartment around 3 pm without telling Hans we were leaving. On that occasion, Sophie took along the briefcase with the leaflets. About half an hour later, we deposited them in the mailbox on Leopold Str.
On the way there, Sophie bought a larger amount of 8-Pfennig postage stamps from a post office on Leopold Str. These were probably intended for use on later mailings. But Sophie did not say how the postage stamps would be used. But I could imagine that they were [to be used] to mail the leaflets.
After that, we went to Eickemeyer’s studio where we cleaned, because an exhibition of paintings was to be opening there [soon]. I then went back to Hans Scholl’s apartment to get a vacuum cleaner. I met Hans at the entrance to the apartment. He told me he had to quickly go to the post office, but that I should wait for him. I do not know whether he was mailing leaflets.
About fifteen minutes later, he returned. I [Note 4] then went back to Eickemeyer’s studio. I must also say that at that time, Schmorell was at Scholl’s [apartment]. I do not know what the two of them were doing.
Sophie and I left the studio around 6 pm. After that, I immediately went to my apartment, Lindwurm Str. 13, where I stayed all night.
That evening, Hans came to me around 9 pm and spent the night with me. When he arrived, he apologized for coming so late. He said he had been with the bookstore owner Söhngen. He had had to make amends with him, because he had not seen him in a while. He had drunk a bottle of wine with Söhngen, namely in his residence on Maximiliansplatz. But Hans did not say that he had told this Söhngen anything about the leaflet operation.
Hans and I left my apartment early (around 9 am) on Wednesday. I then went to the university alone to attend Professor Huber’s lecture. I did not see Hans again until lunch in his apartment. Around 3 pm, I returned to my apartment and stayed there till 7 pm.
After that [7 pm], I met Hans and Sophie [at their apartment] on Franz Josef Str. We ate supper together at the Seehaus [Restaurant] in the English Gardens. After that, I stayed in [Hans] Scholl’s apartment until around 10 pm. During that time, I did not notice that they were making any preparations for a leaflet operation (the next day) at the university.
On the day that the well-known event played out at the university, when Hans Scholl was arrested, I had not been at [the apartment on] Franz Josef Str. at all. On that day, I went straight from my apartment to the university and attended the lecture there, without running into either Hans or Sophie Scholl beforehand.
The first time I saw Hans Scholl again after that was when he was being led away by police officials. I immediately knew that he had been seen while distributing leaflets at the university. When he called out to me, “Alex is at home, tell him I won’t be there this evening,” I immediately knew that I was supposed to tell Schmorell (whom I suspected was at Hans Scholl’s apartment) that he – that is, Hans Scholl – had been arrested.
If I had seen Schmorell in the apartment, I would have told him that Hans had been arrested for distributing leaflets at the university. Under these circumstances, it was clear to me that Hans had disseminated the leaflets shortly beforehand at the university.
During my first interrogation, I completely did what Hans Scholl instructed me to do, that is, that in the case of a police interrogation, I was not allowed to say anything. I was completely under Hans’ influence. His orders were binding on me.
After that interrogation when I was released from custody, I spent the following three days in my room. I did not try to make contact with anyone who could have been connected in any way to the matter. At that time, I was too greatly affected by these events and therefore avoided all contact [with people].
The next Monday [February 22, 1943] I went back to class for the first time. After that, I went to a dairy on Leopold Str. There I met a [male] student whom I had once seen with Scholl. He asked me if I knew anything about the people who had been arrested. I did not have the impression that he had any connection to the matter. He also asked about Traute Lafrenz and Willi Graf’s sister. I replied evasively. He was also disappointed that I could tell him so little.
The next Wednesday [February 24, 1943], Traute Lafrenz and the sisters and brother of Hans Scholl showed up at my apartment around 9 pm. They told me that they had gone to the burial, and that the parents were here too, and that the parents had been present during the trial. All of them including Lafrenz appeared to be very upset. During this visit, which lasted about 15 minutes, very little was said. I can only recall that Inge Scholl said she had been to Prof. Muth’s [house]. He had said that if he had known what both of them (
Inge Hans and Sophie) were doing, he would have tied them up with ropes.
One week later on Monday [March 1, 1943], I saw Traute Lafrenz at a concert at the Bayerischer Hof. At that time, she asked me what names I had named during my interrogation. She was particularly upset that I had named Professor Huber. In that context, she also told me how her interrogation had gone, and that she had only answered the questions that were asked of her. But that other than that, she had not named any names.
In all the conversations I had with Lafrenz, I did not get the impression that she had been initiated into Scholl’s operations. However, she had always shown a very great interest in Hans Scholl.
As best as I could learn, Lafrenz went to visit Hans Scholl’s parents in Ulm immediately after his arrest. I do not know what she wanted to do there. She probably wanted to tell the parents about his arrest.
I also know that she took Hans Scholl’s personal effects, while I did not bother myself with that. I do not know why Lafrenz behaved that way. In any case, I could not tell that she had been very close to Hans Scholl recently. She also did not come around to Scholl’s apartment any more. She seemed to avoid it [the apartment]. Hans Scholl did not treat her very nicely. He made it perfectly clear that he did not want to have anything to do with her.
Regarding my personal relationship to Hans Scholl, I can make the following statements:
Hans Scholl was the first man I had sex with. I met him 14 days before Christmas 1942. I had just come to Munich around that time. Sophie Scholl was the person who introduced me to Hans. I had met her during Labor Service in the summer of 1941. Already at that time, she always raved to me about her brother Hans. But I did not meet Hans until I came to Munich. Hans fully understood how he could win my sympathy. He showed me many kindnesses.
When I returned a few days after Christmas [January 4, 1943], he already started asking me to go with him to events. On January 6, 1943, I attended a concert with him at the Bayerischer Hof. After that, we went to Eickemeyer’s [studio] on Leopold Str.
It then got rather late. I said I would not be able to catch the streetcar, and he then invited me to come back to his apartment. He was able to use his powers of persuasion to actually convince me to follow him back to his apartment. That night, I gave myself to him. I was subject to the powers of seduction that were Hans Scholl’s special gift. That night, I was no longer in control. However, we did not actually have intercourse that night. In this context I would like to add that Hans Scholl gave me a shot of morphine. I do not know why he did so. He told me he only wanted to see what effect the shot would have.
In the time that followed, I could not break away from him. He followed every move I made.
At the beginning of January, he came to my apartment and once again proved to be very insistent. That time, we really did have intercourse, which in the time that followed became the rule. I reproached myself because it had gotten that way between us. I also told Hans Scholl that it could not go on that way. But Hans Scholl knew how to dispel my concerns, and he promised to marry me.
But then there were days when Hans Scholl would completely neglect me. And then he would once again directly overpower [Note 5] me with his insistent manner. I decided I no longer liked his insistence, which I would like to describe as uninhibited. I told Hans that it could not go on like that, and if he could not control himself, I would rather break up.
Then he started threatening to commit suicide. He said he could not go on living if I left him. And I actually was convinced [to stay] with that, because I assumed that Hans Scholl could do something to himself if our relationship broke up.
I did not feel very good when I realized the political attitude that was prevalent with Hans Scholl and his circle. Particularly at the beginning, I would talk about political matters with Sophie and argue with her, when I saw that she thought very religiously and treasonously. That experience made me decide not to have anything to do with that group [of people].
But Hans Scholl did not give me any time to think for myself. I could see danger approaching
any longer that I was unable to avoid any longer.
At the end, I had a feeling of indifference with regards to all that happened. I did not have the emotional strength to fight the things that were piling on top of me. In that condition, I could not have even managed to expose Hans Scholl and denounce him. In accordance with my political attitudes, I was not in agreement with how this all started, even though
he the Scholl siblings and their circle [of friends] were able to make me doubt my political conduct.
With regards to my political education and attitude, I would like to make the following statement:
I was 11 years old when National Socialism came to power. When I was 12, I joined BDM. I belonged to it without interruption until the beginning of my studies [university]. When I was 17 years old, I joined the organization “Faith and Beauty” [Glaube und Schönheit]. I took part in the corresponding events.
In the Winter Semester 1941/42, I also belonged to the Association of the League of National Socialist Students [Note 6] in Jena. I did not join the NSDAP because I was always a member of National Socialist organizations such as BDM and “Faith and Beauty”. I have certainly always thought and acted like a National Socialist.
My parents and my siblings are also good National Socialists. My father has been a member of the Party for many years. One He always gave generously to National Socialist collections. Both of my sisters belong to the Party and actively participated in BDM.
I myself have a good National Socialist education. Especially during the initial phases of my friendship with the Scholl siblings, I always stood up for National Socialist issues. Later I was unable to assert my own views any longer. Hans Scholl once told me that he would yet dissuade me from my “Prussian thinking”. The contrasts were particularly strong because of differences in our views towards the church. I was not raised as strictly Christian as the Scholl siblings, and I did not feel bound to any particular church. Of course I was baptized in a church, that is, Lutheran. But I never pursued any religious interests.
I must admit that under the political influence of Hans Scholl, my political attitude gradually became shaky. It got to the point that I began to doubt National Socialism. In particular, I began to share Hans Scholl’s view that National Socialism limits personal freedom too much. He was additionally able to convince me that the rights of the churches had been limited too much by National Socialism, and that they had unjustly been cut off. He was also finally able to make me doubt our leadership. However, I never participated in Scholl’s treasonous criticism or that of his circle in any way.
When the unfortunate events occurred and Hans Scholl was arrested, I finally came to my senses for the first time. I then tried to get out of this atmosphere. I decided I no longer wanted to study [at the university], because I did not want to be around [male] students any longer. I felt morally guilty. I intended to atone for my offenses by working in an armaments factory.
I therefore told my father that I felt guilty, and that I could best atone for it by working in an armaments factory. He advised me to do so.
Taking the circumstances described in this interrogation report into account, I request the most benevolent judgment possible. I can assure you that I will find my way back to the People’s Community [Note 7] as a good German woman.
Recorded by: /Signed: Beer/, Crim. Secr.
Read aloud and signed: /Signed: Gisela Schertling/
Note 1: This document is missing the usual heading of Secret State Police [Gestapo] etc. Also no file number stated anywhere on document.
Note 2: Fuhren. Could also mean “rode” as in streetcar. In other words, they did not walk.
Note 3: Freundschaftsverhältnis.
Note 4: I, not we.
Note 5: Überwältigen (overwhelm, subdue, overpower), not vergewaltigen (rape). Nevertheless, likely still a prosecutable offense (sexual assault).
Note 6: Arbeitsgemeinschaften des Bundes der NS Studenten. Not the usual NS-Studentenbund designation.
Note 7: Volksgemeinschaft. “People’s Community” may sound innocuous, but it was highly charged National Socialist language.
Source: Schertling/Schüddekopf (37 – 46)